In a shocking incident today, Fumio Kishida, the leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), narrowly escaped an explosion that occurred just ahead of his stump speech in Wakayama. Fortunately, Kishida was evacuated unhurt, and no other injuries were reported in the incident.
According to eyewitnesses, the explosion occurred at around 1:30 PM local time, just as Kishida’s motorcade was arriving at the venue of his speech. The blast was heard from several blocks away and caused panic among the crowds gathered there.
Police and security personnel were quick to respond to the incident and immediately cordoned off the area. An initial investigation suggests that the explosion was caused by a homemade device placed near the stage where Kishida was due to speak.
The incident has raised concerns about the security of political figures in Japan, especially given the recent assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just nine months ago. Abe was shot with a homemade weapon while campaigning for the LDP in July last year in Nara Prefecture. His assailant, a 41-year-old man with a history of mental illness, was arrested shortly after the incident.
Kishida, who was appointed as the leader of the LDP last year, has been campaigning hard ahead of the upcoming general election, which is expected to be held later this year. The LDP has been in power for most of Japan’s post-war history and is widely expected to win the election.
In a statement released shortly after the incident, Kishida expressed his shock and concern over the explosion but remained determined to continue his campaign. He thanked the police and security personnel for their quick response and urged his supporters to remain calm.
The incident is a stark reminder of the risks and challenges faced by political leaders in Japan, especially during election season. It remains to be seen how the authorities will respond to this latest incident and what measures will be taken to ensure the safety of political figures in the future.